New York City Travel
Insects exhibits and permanent collections in the museum. Guide and description for visitors.    
American Museum of Natural History.


The installations in this hall of the American Museum of Natural History are arranged in a continuous series, beginning at the rail cases farthest to the left, and are numbered so that they can be easily followed.

First is the section showing the importance of insects, i.e., the losses they occasion to crops and the diseases spread by them, also the benefits they render by pollination of many of our crops and flowers.

Next are sections explaining the terms used in the classification of insects,* followed by a series giving a summary of the principles of evolution, as illustrated by insects.

Insects are grouped into orders mainly according to the nature of their wings. Beginning with the highest class of Insecta and passing downward, the principal ones are as follows:

Diptera—Flies, mosquitoes, gnats, midges and others: Two-winged insects with mouth parts formed for sucking.
Hymenoptera—Bees, wasps, ants, ichneumon flies and other insects having four membranous wings with few cross veins. Mouth parts formed for biting and sucking.
Coleoptera--Beetles. Insects with hard wing covers, the inner membranous pair used for flying. This is the most numerous order.
Following is a series of exhibits concerned with the life histories of insects, their relation to vegetation, their enemies and the means used by man to combat the injurious species.
In other sections of the hall are exhibits of silkworms, honey bees, seventeen-year cicada, mound-building ants, a group of monarch butterflies as they are found during their migratory period in early autumn, and a revolving case showing the iridescence of opaque insects.

The general study collection 15 is not on exhibition but may be seen on the Fifth Floor of the American Museum of Natural History by visitors desiring to make a more extended study of insect life.

Lepidoptera—Butterflies and moths. Insects with four wings, covered with overlapping scales. Mouth parts for sucking.
Hemiptera—All true bugs, plant lice, seventeen-year locusts. Insects having four wings. Mouth parts formed for sucking.
Neuroptera—Ant lion, dobson and others. Insects having four membranous wings with numerous veins. Mouth parts formed for biting.

Odonata—Dragon-flies and others. Insects with four membranous wings finely netted with veins. Mouth parts for biting.
Orthoptera— Grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, walking sticks and others. Insects usually with four wings, the outer pair being straight and not used actively for flying, the inner pair or Flying wings folded like the plaits of a fan. Mouth parts formed for biting.
Thysanura—Spring tails, bristle tails and others. Insects without wings, which undergo no metamorphosis. In some cases there are, in addition to the six legs belonging to all insects, rudimentary legs on the abdomen. The Thysanura form a kind of connecting link between the other insects and the myriapods.

This hall is in course of rearrangement; in the final plan it is intended to include primitive man as well as the other members of the order Primates.
Facing the entrance is a group of Colobus monkeys. The specimens in the group have been selected to show the stages of coloration from youth to old age. The young are born white, but their color changes so rapidly that this fact was long doubted even by scientists.
On three sides of the hall north, east and south are representative specimens of monkeys of the Old and the New World. One large case contains a family of orang-utans, one of the first groups of large animals to be mounted in this country, and adjacent are examples of the gorilla. The chimpanzee, "Mr. Crowley," who died in 1888, after living in Central Park Menagerie for five years, is near-by. In another case is a group of bats, the only mammals that fly, and in a wall case on the west are life-size figures of the three best defined races of man, i.e., the White or Caucasian, represented by a figure of a Norwegian woman in holiday attire, the Yellow or Mongolian, by that of a Chinese farm laborer, and the Black or African race, by "Manziga," a native African chief of the Azande tribe.
In other portions of the hall are groups of birds: woodcock, grouse, quail, partridge, white-crowned pigeon and water ousel. The last named bird has the peculiar habit of suddenly diving into the water and while beneath the surface walking quietly about feeding among the pebbles on the bottom.
From the ceiling hangs a skeleton of the North Atlantic right whale. Proceed to the



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